3 mins read

What Happens at Dental Checkups?

by | Jul 9, 2018

Dental checkups are an integral part of maintaining your oral health, so if you’ve never had a dental checkup or it’s been a long time since your last one, you may benefit from understanding the basics of your next dental appointment. Here’s a glimpse at what to expect when you arrive.

Reasons You Should Get Dental Checkups

If you are not having any problems with your teeth or gums, like pain, extreme discoloration, receding gums, or extremely dark spots and stains on your teeth, you may not feel the need to visit a dentist. Dental checkups should be considered just as important as your yearly physical and eye examination. This is because dental examinations help catch oral health problems before they result in serious gum disease, loose teeth, and the need for tooth extractions. Here are a few reasons why you should get regular dental checkups:

  • Catches Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease Early
  • Oral Cancer Tests Can Help Detect oral Cancer Before It Spreads
  • Get Cavities Filled Before They Result in the Need for a Root Canal or Tooth Extraction
  • Learn How to Improve Your At-Home Oral Hygiene

What Happens at Dental Checkups

When you walk into a dental office, you should expect a friendly staff member to welcome you and make you feel comfortable. On a first visit, you will be asked to fill out some new patient paperwork, or you may be asked to provide the paperwork that you filled out at home. After a short wait, you will be invited back to the dental examination room where you will first meet with a dental hygienist followed by a dentist.

Dental X-Rays and Oral Examination

During your dental checkup, x-rays of your teeth and jaw and an oral examination will be performed in order to determine if there are any problems, like cavities, impacted teeth, infections, gingivitis, or periodontal disease. If cavities or other oral health issues are discovered, the dentist will discuss those with you, answer your questions, and develop a treatment plan to restore your oral health. If you need cavities filled or additional procedures, those will be performed after your teeth cleaning.

Teeth Cleaning

The dental hygienist will perform your teeth cleaning. A paper napkin will be placed around your neck to protect your clothing, and you will be asked to lay back and relax while your teeth are cleaned. The cleaning process involves scraping all the plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth and any tartar that has slipped below your gum line. Since the teeth cleaning process involves scraping below your gum line, you may notice that your gums bleed slightly. This is completely normal, and all blood and saliva will be periodically removed from your mouth via a small suction device.

Teeth Polishing

Once all the plaque and tartar have been removed, the dentist will polish your teeth using a small bit of tooth polish and a rotating brush. The polishing process helps achieve a certain degree of brightness, and it makes the surface of the tooth slightly slippery for a short while, so that food particles do not adhere as easily to the teeth.

Additional Procedures

If you need additional procedures, like cavities filled, an oral cancer test, or teeth whitening, these can be performed at another visit, after your teeth have been cleaned and polished. If you have questions about how to properly brush and floss your teeth or which products to use to keep your teeth clean, the dentist can answer all of your questions.

Schedule Your Dental Checkups Twice a Year

Most people should schedule an oral checkup every six months to have their teeth and gums examined and to have their teeth cleaned and polished. Depending on your oral health history and your medical history, your dentist may recommend more frequent teeth cleanings and examinations or less frequent examinations. In general, those with preexisting health problems, like diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and certain habits, may need more frequent examinations. Those who do not have any preexisting conditions or a family history of gum disease may need fewer dental examinations.

Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 747-3608.